Creating a Ghost Contributor

Any Trail Sweep team member can add an article submitted to them by a member of NSP.  But to give them credit in the form of a BYLINE, management must make the submitter into a Ghost Contributor.

Ghost Contributors are authors of articles who submitted news and, therefore, are required to appear with a BYLINE but don’t have time to be onboarded as fully privileged AUTHORS (or do not want to become full-fledged AUTHORS because they have busy leadership positions).  For these circumstances, we create their BYLINE as a “Ghost Contributor” to speed their article approval through the Trail Sweep editorial WORKFLOW.  In the future, these contributors may be asked to become Staff AUTHORS.

The EDITORIAL WORKFLOW that Trail Sweep employs in publishing news uses the WordPress User Privilege levels as a starting point.  Administrators create structural changes to the website, such as page layout, sidebar additions, and menus.  Editors make publishing decisions.  Authors log in to contribute articles and photos.  Contributors and Ghost Contributors receive a byline for creating content.  Trail Sweep does not utilize Subscriber Users.

Editors operate like administrators in the processing of NEWS CONTENT.  They are the management level that reviews contributions, edits for grammar, fact-checks, and ensures that the article fits the Trail Sweep formula.  Editors are the persons in the Trail Sweep organization who review and make the actual PUBLISH decisions.

Authors are the working staff members of the Trail Sweep organization.  Their focus is on content creation — gathering and reporting news!  Their logon privileges revolve around accessing NEWS POSTS, MEDIA LIBRARY, and PROJECTS.  An author-level staff member can do everything written about in the STAFF HELP pages, except they can not publish their own articles or create Ghost Contributors.

Ghost Contributors are the lowest USER account that affords a byline but does not include them on the Trail Sweep staff.  In the future, Trail Sweep management will want to convert Ghost Contributors to Authors because it is an easy way of accomplishing two important Trail Sweep goals:

  1. Remotely distribute the tedium of typing an article that may have dropped in over the transom (so to speak).  Nobody wants to type for others. If they write articles regularly, then consider inviting them to the staff to become full Authors.
  2. WordPress is designed to give managers an easy avenue for cultivating content writers by empowering them into a club or onto a team by using the WordPress system.  Editorial meetings are about generating content through inspiration. Staff writers need to be inspired to be productive on a team.  By continually inspiring more NSP members to become writers, the pool of dynamic, fresh content for readers will broaden.

If adding a submission written by a non-Trail Sweep Staff Member,

Ask management to open a Ghost Contributor USER ACCOUNT.


Step 1) (Administrators Only)  Select USERS from the left-hand menu bar and click the ADD NEW button.

Step 2)  Username in this organization must be FIRSTNAME DOT LASTNAME.

Step 3)  Email for ALL Ghost Contributors must follow this format.  Type GHOST, then a DASH, then paste in the Username followed by @TrailSweep.ORG.  This allows Trail Sweep readers to contact the editorial staff regarding the Ghost Contributor’s articles while bypassing the contributor.  It is up to the editorial staff to decide if fan mail should be forwarded onward.

Step 4)  First and Last Names are a formal requirement for the BYLINE display.  The website is optional.

Step 5)  Please leave the password as gibberish

Step 6) Subscriber will appear as the default ROLE.  This must be changed to GHOST CONTRIBUTOR, or else the ghost will not appear on the BYLINE list.

Step 7) Other Roles are not pertinent to low-privileged users.  Leave it light gray.

Step 8) Don’t forget to click the ADD NEW USER button to make it official.

In the future, once a user is given a Trail Sweep account, they can be promoted by an Editor or an Administrator.  The most important edit upon promotion is to change their EMAIL ADDRESS to their actual personal address.  The TrailSweep email must be replaced, or else they will not be able to regain access to their WordPress account.